After Danni Stefanetti bombed as a teenage ballet dancer, her mother gave her a choice between taking up the guitar or violin.
“Not many girls my age were playing guitar at the time, so that’s what I picked,” Stefanetti says. “Right away, I felt like I’d found my calling. I was a terrible dancer, but everything about the guitar felt so right to me.”
The Australian-born guitarist considers herself something of “an old soul in a young body” – she cut her teeth jamming along to her father’s CD collection, which was big on blues and classic rock. “I got into Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan – anything with epic guitar playing,” she says. “My guitar teacher would show me Jimi Hendrix solos. I’d come back the next week and be able to play them myself.”
But Stefanetti is a little bit country as well, especially in terms of songwriting. She cites Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and fellow Aussie Keith Urban as major influences. “The Eagles, too,” she says. “To me, they’re very country.”
By 16, Stefanetti was writing and singing her own country-rock material, appearing on TV shows and bagging songwriter awards. Having taken her career as far as she could in Australia, she relocated to Los Angeles and hit the clubs with her three-piece band, wowing audiences at the Hotel Café and the Peppermint Club.
Earlier this year, she released a concert CD, Live at Big Bear, and she’s now deep into recording her first proper studio album.
“I’ve concentrated on ballads for a while, but this record is going to rock,” Stefanetti says. “The riffs are crazy. If I had to describe the songs, they’re like Bonnie Raitt meets Sheryl Crow meets Joe Walsh meets the Stones – with hints of INXS.”
A devoted PRS player, Stefanetti was recently chosen for the company’s 2023 Pulse program, which she calls “a very high honor. Some of my favorite guitarists play PRS. I absolutely love their guitars. When John Mayer came out with his Silver Sky model, I knew I had to have one. It’s my main guitar now. It fits me like a glove, and it plays and sounds like a dream.”
- Live at Big Bear is out now via Danniland.